Following last week’s election, the Gorham School Committee has installed new leadership and the council was expectd to pick its new leaders last night. The Town Council met at 7 p.m. after the American Journal deadline.

On Wednesday, the School Committee named James Hager as chairman with Steve Caldwell as vice chairman, succeeding Bill Neily, who didn’t run for re-election. Outgoing Chairman Marie South handed the gavel to Hager. Gorham Superintendent Ted Sharp moderated the panel until Hager was picked.

Burleigh Loveitt, who has served as Town Council chairman for the past two years, said this week that it’s time to turn over the council gavel. “I’m not available. My firm belief is the chairmanship should pass,” Loveitt said.

Loveitt said if a council chairman stayed “too long” it would become about an individual and not about the citizens. But Loveitt’s heir as council chairman was not apparent before the council met.

Matt Robinson served the past year as vice chairman and had made it known that he was interested in the top spot. But Robinson didn’t call fellow councilors seeking the nomination.

“We usually don’t solicit the position,” Robinson said Tuesday.

Robinson, who is in his second term on the council, was first elected in 2000. “I’d love to do it,” Robinson said, but added that he would support whoever gets the post.

According to Loveitt, Robinson is one of three councilors who have never been chairman. The other two are Phil Dugas and Jane Willett, who was re-elected to the council last week. The other three councilors who have previously served as a chairman are Calvin Hamblen, Norm Justice and Mike Phinney, who was also re-elected last week. But Loveitt didn’t predict who would be named his successor.

Loveitt wants to dedicate his attention to Gorham traffic problems. He hopes to remain in the “point position” in the town’s transportation talks with the Maine Department of Transportation and the Maine Turnpike Authority.

With the possibility of a Turnpike spur coming to Gorham coupled with the bypass, Loveitt said citizens should be enthused about a real regional transportation solution for Gorham in the near future. Gorham is “well-positioned, as the new council takes up the reins,” Loveitt said

In last week’s race for two spots on the School Committee, Caldwell retained his seat. Two political newcomers, Dennis Libby, and write-in candidate Janet Williams were also elected to three-year terms. They fended off three other write-in challengers for school committee seats.

Libby was the top vote getter with 2,861; Caldwell, 2,782; Williams, 295; Melinda Shain, 248; Steve Morin, 156; and Michael Chandler, 25.

In other elections results, Gorham voted 2,618 No to 2,052 Yes on the state’s referendum Question 1. The No votes won in Gorham’s three districts and central.

By a large margin, voters approved a local referendum to reconstruct Brackett Road and a portion of Libby Avenue with 2,989 voting Yes and 1,489 No. The town will borrow $1.3 million, as the local share of the $5.5 million reconstruction project.

The road referendum passed in the three districts and central.

(hager 1 or 2) – After being elected chairman by the School Committee, Jim Hager, on the right, talks with Superintendent Ted Sharp on Wednesday.


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